Our blog posts are designed to keep our audience up-to-date on the latest information on the happenings at Mount Vernon and the printing industry overall. Check back often for updates and browse the different categories for new information.
Mount Vernon Print has been in business for 100 years (can you believe it?!) and we’re proud of the work we do, as well as the level of print expertise we have in our plant. Mount Vernon employs five “press masters” who have 150 years of service between them! Not many print plants can say that. We also owe a big thanks to our loyal customers who have supported us through the years through a challenging and always changing industry.
And speaking of 100 years, boy has a lot changed since then! Since most of you reading this blog weren’t around a century ago, here’s a little snapshot into what life was like.
Our president was Woodrow Wilson, who was known for winning the Nobel Peace Prize, among other great achievements. Back then, most politicians campaigned by train, making frequent stops and speeches in small towns. Direct mail wasn’t as popular as it is now, but it did exist. I found these 1916 campaign gems printed for the Wilson v. Hughes Presidential race.
Other interesting tidbits:
- Average Americans living in big cities commuted by walking or taking the trolley (or “dodging” them). The Brooklyn Grays baseball team was nicknamed the Brooklyn Trolley Dodgers in honor of the dedicated fans who had to avoid speeding trolley cars to see them play.
- Horses were the main mode of transportation for most people.
- Orchestras and quartets created the music of the day and most Americans spent Friday nights dancing to a piano for entertainment or listening to a phonograph.
- The typical American spent one-third of his income on food, which is twice today’s share.
- Lunch at the office provided a logistical challenge, as there was no such thing as a plastic bag to keep a sandwich fresh. Instead, sandwiches were kept moist by wrapping them in a dry towel, covered with a towel wrung out of hot water.
- The average American ate almost equivalent amounts of lard (11.5 pounds) and chicken (14 pounds) per year. Today we each eat more than 57 pounds of chicken annually!
- Over a 100 million people lived in the United States, and more than half were under 25 (That would now be a Millennial marketing gold mine.)
- Clothing took up about 13 percent of one’s income.
- The average dwelling housed more than four people, especially on a farm in rural areas.
Thankfully today, with the invention of the plastic bag, we can take fresh chicken sandwiches to work. Not to mention, watch a baseball game without having to dodge trolley cars! Campaigning has also become more strategic, and we have you covered with our extensive resources. Contact us to find out about our turnkey advocacy and political direct mail campaigns that can be easily delivered across the U.S – without having to jump on a train.
Please join me over the next few weeks, as I profile some really stellar employees at MVP.
Traditionally, Direct Mail has gotten a bad rap from the days of “spray and pray” where large amounts of advertising pieces were produced and sent out to many people in hopes of finding the right target. But, I’m happy to report that Direct Mail industry is finally catching up to digital by means of data analysis and targeted execution.
As email marketing rose in popularity with marketers, so did the amounts of data that could be collected. Today, a lot of decisions are analytics-driven, and this useful customer data is also being harnessed to refuel a direct mail revival putting it back into the marketing mix of many companies.
The more customer data you have, the better your direct marketing campaign results will be, used wisely of course. How you ask? Combing the targeting ability that email offers with the prospective power of advertising can provide two big advantages over other channels.
What I love about Direct Mail is that there is always some type of action required by the recipient. They must scan the piece to decide if they want to keep it, or throw it away. It might not seem like much, but there is a big advantage to “forcing” prospects to make a decision about what they have received. (This is where email succeeds and digital advertising falls flat). When was the last time you read a digital ad? I’ve been seeing a lot of articles lately regarding the lack of transparency when it comes to digital ads, which is really starting to tarnish the digital ad industry.
What most marketers like is the ability to tie analytics into acquisition. This is where email lacks, and the power to prospect just isn’t there. Direct Mail is able to harness real transactional data in order to optimize lists and identify a prospect.
But, don’t just take our word for it. The Data and Marketing Association reports that the response rate for direct mail is at 3.7%, as compared to email at .12%, and digital display ads at .02%. Now that is data that speaks for itself.
Make sure your company is harnessing data and using Direct Mail to its best ability to keep repeat customers and to get those prospects. Mount Vernon Printing would be happy to refuel your marketing mix with the help of Direct Mail.
Photo: Courtesy of launch-marketing.com
Marketers want to reach and motivate their customers quickly and effectively. Up until recently, this has been a challenge with digital ads. Not anymore, as digital ads can be targeted and engaging with the help of public IP addresses. It is a hot topic these days, with the latest eMarketer forecast estimating that programmatic ad buys will total over $32.56 billion heading in upwards of $78 billion by 2019.
At Mount Vernon, we love working on these types of campaigns because our cross target programmatic marketing solutions enable automated ad placement that works hand-in-hand with direct mail campaigns, providing customers with an omnichannel experience that companies need to stay competitive.
Imagine a scenario where you serve up an ad online, only to known recipients that you want to communicate with. You know when your customer engages with it and you can then follow up with a highly targeted direct mail piece within a specific window of time with a call to action. Talk about making an impact. To me, that’s personalization that’s effective but not creepy.
Here’s how it works: We link your physical mailing list or target list to online consumer public IP addresses, which result in more precise targeting. Unlike using cookies for placement, your online ads are served to real, known and eligible prospects and customers. Instead of using web statistics for display ads, which can often be inflated by non-human traffic and bring little return, you can use scoring models, customer files, and countless demographic keys that describe your best customers.
To be more specific, cross target programmatic marketing uses automated technology that can gather and analyze data and draw insights to improve your campaign. You can truly tailor your campaign to serve a very personalized brand message.
Give programmatic marketing a try if you haven’t already and you will be surprised at the difference in ROI and the increase in conversions. Want to learn more? Contact us and we’ll show you how our technology provides solutions that deliver impactful, relevant and personalized communications.
Photo: Courtesy of Berson Dean Stevens Inc.
Popular doesn’t always mean better. We all know that digital channels are popular, and in most cases less expensive than paper, but printed periodicals have actually seen a rise in the past few years. Direct mail has also been overtaking email when it comes to successful marketing tactics.
It’s true, there has been a decline in direct mail volumes over the years. But what that means is that anything that does land in your customer’s mailbox, or on their desk gets attention, especially if it is done well. Direct mail is proactive and tactile — almost insisting that the recipient do something with it. Email rarely ever makes me feel that way, but it does make me want to hit “delete” a lot.
Email’s role in marketing has been changing. Aside from the obvious oversaturation in our inboxes, hijacking by scammers and spammers has contributed to this shift. The 2017 DMA Email Benchmarking Report says that marketing emails are being read some of the time, but as consumers become more cautious, the actual click-through rate has been steadily declining since 2015, when it ranked at 1.8%. The click-through rate lowered even more in 2016 to 1.6%.
This is more proof that marketers should be thinking of an Integrated digital + print marketing strategy if they don’t already do so. There are really good correlations out there between consumers receiving physical mail that was produced with multiple areas of personalization and targeted messaging. This leads to a call to action or being influenced to buy online after receiving the direct mail piece.
Including direct mail in your mix, and having an omnichannel approach will help maximize your ROI from a marketing campaign. For example, a follow-up email can act as a reminder if it is timed right with another printed communication vehicle such as a catalog, or personalized content that your customer requested in the mail. ROI increases when you connect content and messaging that is tailored to your customer as an individual.
According to DM News, 90% of people ages 25-34 find direct mail reliable and 87% like receiving it in the mail. Read: Millennials like the tactile feel of mail. I can talk your ear off about direct mail and how it can help your business. Contact me to learn more.
Photo courtesy of www.thefrankagency.com
Hacking is a scary word, and I think most people understand the ramifications can be disastrous when a hacker strikes. It seems like at least once a month the news is reporting on a major security breach. The latest one on my mind is from a major credit-reporting agency.
It appears that more and more companies, especially ones in the healthcare, financial and insurance industries, are at risk for breaches of sensitive information. This data includes email addresses, social security numbers, patient medical records, member ID’s, etc. That’s just the tip of the iceberg though, as these are just some of the data fields that need special security requirements. That brings me to one of my favorite words to say these days, HIPAA.
You’re probably familiar with HIPAA from all of those forms you have to sign when at the doctor’s office or picking up a prescription, but do you know what it stands for?
HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) is United States legislation that provides data privacy and security provisions for safeguarding medical information. Your information cannot be shared without your explicit permission.
If you communicate to your customers via direct mail, and that communication contains personal information, you can ensure the safety of that data is a primary priority for us. We have HIPAA-and data compliant facilities that are required to go through special training to ensure they follow very specific protocols when handling sensitive communications.
Our compliant facilities have to meet HIPAA rigid standards to obtain certification. There are specific processes in place, along with safeguards (like limited access to certain areas of the shop, shredding overages, etc.) that allow our facilities to adhere to these compliances. We are equipped to help you send your customers sensitive information with the utmost security to ensure you’re compliant.
The next time you are looking for a solution provider to handle sensitive data, please check and see if they have these strict security measures in place. We have them all, and welcome a conversation around your secure data needs.
Photo courtesy of Infoworld.com
Millennials. You know a few of them I’m sure. Maybe you are a millennial. Millennials grew up in an electronics-filled and increasingly online and socially-networked world. They are the generation that has received the most marketing attention. And so that being said, you’d assume that they want to be marketed to digitally. Not necessarily.
Millennials are savvy young shoppers using a variety of channels to find the best bang for their buck. Not surprising, they lead the way in using paperless discounts more than any other generation. But what every marketer should consider is that a third of millennial coupon users reported increasing their paper coupon usage this year over the prior one. Yes, they still like paper!
There is proof that millennials do actually like mailed coupons and direct mail with a strong call to action. They pay attention to the direct mail envelopes and postcards that have special offers for businesses that have localized search online and who offer codes for online discounts.
There is a good reason why paper couponing has staying power. Forrester Consulting research concludes that “even in today’s digital world, consumers still use paper coupons at a surprisingly high rate, likely because most digital options do not provide a seamless customer experience.” Coupons, i.e. paper, are tactile and easy to use. In this upside-down world of couponing, digital is actually more difficult than paper. If you send them direct mail, the chances of a millennial responding are higher than if you simply send something digital.
Of course coupons and direct mail help drive sales, but if you want to create brand loyalty, delivering a frictionless money-saving experience will ultimately create long-term customer loyalty. Who doesn’t want loyalty?
Photo courtesy of premieruplink.com
As with pop culture (like I wrote about in my last blog), relevancy is the key. That’s also the case for success with your print marketing tactics. When done right, traditional methods of outreach can be just as effective at reaching your target customer.
It may seem old school, but print such as catalogs and direct mail can help overcome any digital overload consumers face today. A big part of being relevant is using personalization in your approach. This will strike the right chord when communicating with your customers. And, when you pair that with other outreach channels, you are guaranteed even higher response rates.
Relevancy isn’t just about including the recipient’s name; it also means tailoring images, the messaging, and the information so it speaks specifically to that customer, or potential customer. A Xerox and InfoTrends study reported that 44 percent of direct mail is quickly discarded if it’s not relevant, whereas 80 percent of consumers tend to open a personalized direct mail piece. At the end of the day that is very significant.
Catalogs are also making quite a comeback. It’s not hard to find retailers who drive sales to both digital channels and brick-and-mortar stores with their printed catalogs. This is even more effective when the printed piece is attractively designed and — yes, I’m sounding repetitive — personalized to each recipient. You’re seeing a pattern here, aren’t you?
The advances of inkjet technology are truly transforming catalogs into cost-effective personalized vehicles. High-quality color options and rich substrates with quick turn times can be expected when using the inkjet printers of today.
With Mount Vernon Printing’s deep resources that feature the latest technologies, we’re set up to help you stay relevant. Let us help you brainstorm the most effective ways to meet your printing goals.
Photo courtesy of Xerox.com
There are plenty of events happening in the world as we move through our daily lives. How are you leveraging these positive events to reach your customers? Consider being creative with current events to keep your company, or brand top of mind. What cues can you take from these to create products, or campaigns that that will resonate with your audience?
As the sales funnel is redefined, it’s important to make sure your marketing is evolving as well. For instance, it was just announced that Pantone is naming a color after the singer-songwriter Prince in honor of his “Purple Rain” hue. The new name will be dubbed the “Love Symbol #2.” This is a great example of how Pantone Color Institute is using pop culture to generate new interest in something that has been around for quite some time.
How about that awesome solar eclipse where so many people took time out of their day to see it first hand? Lots of companies jumped on the eclipse band wagon. Dunkin Donuts created a one-minute video AND provided instructions on how to make an easy DIY pinhole projector using their Munchkins Treat Box to help keep your munchkin’s eyes safe. Smart, right?
Do pancakes look like the moon? Well, to Denny’s they sure did, so the well-known breakfast chain offered customers a $4 all you can eat pancake special on that special day.
You just never know where your next creative product or idea will be coming from when you draw upon the world around you! Need some ideas? We can help you create a creative campaign that will resonate with your customers. Reach out to me.
As I’m sure you know, offset and digital are both really popular printing methods. They both have their own benefits depending on your goals and how you would like to communicate to your customers.
Entering the market about 10 years ago, digital printing has really taken off, and it’s expected to grow 17% compounded annually until 2020 according to Printing Impressions. That is precisely why Mount Vernon Printing invested in this technology at the onset.
Our customers sometimes ask me what the difference is between the two popular print methods, so I wanted to put together my short list of pros for each that you should consider when starting a project.
Digital (or Inkjet) Printing Pros: There are no printing plates or films eliminating the mechanical steps that are required for offset printing.
- Short turn-around time
- Capability to print with a coating / varnish
- Less expensive for low volume runs without sacrificing quality
- Ability to personalize your project with variable data
Good fit for: Personalized direct mail, projects that require a high number of print versions and POD (print on demand) projects that eliminate inventory and waste. The flexibility and rapid turn times really makes this method attractive to many of our customers.
Offset Printing Pros: Offset printing uses the Pantone Matching System for the highest color matching and finer details.
- Cost effective for high volume jobs due to lower unit cost (digital still can’t compete with the volume capabilities of an offset press)
- Larger variety of paper types with custom finishes
- Other print surfaces and special custom inks are available
Good fit for: High-end projects where color quality needs to be perfect.
Digital printing offers the most affordable way to customize marketing materials, and with the ROI attached to personalized marketing, it’s only going to get more popular with every passing year.
Both offset and digital print can co-exist in a way that lets you communicate to your customers at the right price. Reach out to me and I’ll help you create a plan that minimizes cost and maximizes the return on your next project.
Photo courtesy of: Arkansasgraphics.com
Print larger quantities faster and for less money
Most people are familiar with the term offset web printing. Web offset printing is generally used for larger print runs, and when utilized properly can be very economical, with the most typical applications being publications, catalogs, and books.
What you might not know is that web presses are divided into two classes. Understanding the benefits can help you communicate faster to your audience at a lower cost.
The two classes are:
- Cold (or non-heat-set) offset web press
- Heat-set offset web press
The main differences are really how the inks are dried. With cold web offset printing, ink dries while being absorbed into the paper. Heat set, on the other hand, dries with heaters or drying lamps before the ink is considered cured.
Cold-set presses work mostly with offset or uncoated paper stock (and yes the technology is a bit older). Perfect usage for a cold press are PMS/spot colors and black and white print work, maybe investment prospectuses, inserts, self-mailers, letters and pharmaceutical product information sheets (PIs).
Heat-set presses give you a bit more versatility with the kinds of paper, but they aren’t always as cost effective.
The cold-set press is a favorite option for our customers because of the larger quantities that can be produced with a short amount of lead time. Of course, the cost effectiveness is a big draw as well. Just because the technology is older doesn’t mean it should be retired, right?
Contact us to find out how you can take advantage of our cold-set press.
Photo courtesy of picantecreative.com